Using the Window Sticker to Your Advantage

When a car or truck is built, it's issued a window sticker. Information on this sticker verifies its make, model and year and provides its suggested retail price — thus, its "sticker price" — and a comprehensive list of its standard and optional equipment. Each vehicle also has a vehicle identification number on its sticker; all of these statistics officially identify the car or truck for shoppers on a dealer's showroom floor.

More on the Window Sticker

  • What's on Your Window Sticker?

    The window sticker's most vital information includes the vehicle's manufacturer's suggested retail price, engine specifications, and standard and optional equipment. Read more 

The sticker is a rich source of essential information about a new automobile. It lets you know exactly what's included with any particular vehicle, as well as helping to ensure that you're getting the exact options you're paying for.

The window sticker also provides a valuable historical record. It's a good idea to keep copies of the sticker in the glove box for reference, such as when future repairs are needed and specific parts are required. The sticker also documents the list of original accessories that came with the vehicle if you eventually sell it.

The Monroney sticker — as it is called in the auto industry — is named for the late Almer Stillwell "Mike" Monroney, a senator from Oklahoma who sponsored the federal Automobile Information Disclosure Act in 1958. This statute requires that a sticker be affixed to the side window or windshield of every new car sold in the United States. While the law does not specifically mandate Monroney stickers for some trucks, automakers affix them across their entire vehicle lineups. Failure to display one can result in a fine of $10,000 per vehicle to the dealership.

The stiff penalty for their absence underscores the value of window stickers for car shoppers. Of particular value are several pieces of vital information: the manufacturer's suggested retail price; engine and transmission specifications; standard equipment, including warranty details; optional equipment; and fuel economy information.

© Cars.com 4/30/13